There are five packages currently, covering men, young people, older people, people of diverse sexualities and/or genders, and Aboriginal people.
For the Aboriginal response package, Cox Inall Ridgeway is leading the consultation process and establishing an Aboriginal advisory group that will guide how response activities are framed. They’re looking at developing a social media campaign, resources to raise awareness, and strategic events such as strength-based yarning circles.
Suicide Prevention Australia is leading the men’s response package, again establishing an advisory group to determine the deliverables.
Anglicare, for the older people response package, is focused on delivering training and resources for staff working in the aged care sector, particularly in mental health, while ACON is managing the package for people of diverse sexualities and/or genders. This is again centred on social media but will include resources for GPs, an online hub and an interactive directory.
In the young people’s sector, funding has enabled not-for-profit care provider Wellways to develop a campaign called UrHere that’s fully up and running, offering support for young people, including those who identify as members of the LGBTQ+, Aboriginal, CALD and other communities.
Ned Evans, 19, is leading UrHere’s rollout from his base in Wagga as the Suicide Prevention Community Development Coordinator for Wellways. He relishes the chance to help other young people through difficult times, especially those in rural and remote areas.
“In developing this campaign we saw that young people need support more than ever and we wanted to be there for them,” Ned says. “We’re in the Murrumbidgee, and our region has taken in quite a large number of refugees over the last few years and there are Indigenous communities, large farming communities and so on. We’re catering to lots of different groups, with young people being the main focus.
“The premise of UrHere is that no matter where you’re from, you are probably going through an experience that someone else is going through as well. We want the campaign to be a support network for all young people navigating their life and finding their purpose, to be able to come together, share experiences and, in turn, help others.”
Employing social media enables UrHere to greatly extend its footprint while turning an entity that’s potentially a negative influence for some people into a positive. Also, while the term ‘response package’ sounds reactive, social media is effective for proactive and interactive messaging.
“For us, it can work both ways,” Ned explains. “We’ve obviously recognised a lot of barriers and negative things going on in social media, so in one sense it’s reactive. But we’re also trying to put a foot ahead and get in front, just to let people know there are ways to avoid getting into a really dark place.
“Our first step is breaking down some of the stigmas and making support readily accessible. Social media fits that criteria – we all have it – and all it takes is to open your phone and scroll through and you can see ways of seeking support.”Ned began at Wellways as a disability support worker, which inspired him to step into the suicide prevention role at a relatively young age.
“I absolutely love it. As a young person myself, being able to share some of my personal experience is super exciting – that’s the whole point of this campaign. The (social media) content is going really well and getting a lot of reach.
“The main driver for me is seeing the difference that we make in people’s lives every day, especially when it can be a hard thing for people to put their hand up and say, ‘You know what? I’m not doing okay and I do need help’.
“For me, I love being able to see that young people are starting to reach out more. It’s so important they're supported on that journey and they know that they’re not alone.”
UrHere is utilising Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
Community Response Packages for Priority Groups is a NSW Heath Towards Zero Suicides initiative.